Review: Stronghold (Vino and Veritas #14) by Ana Ashley


Stronghold is a sweet, heartwarming romance. A second chance at love tale, we watch a reunion between chef Judson and maple sugarer Skyler after being best friends growing up then driven apart for a decade. One , Skyler who remained in Burlington to help with his family’s dairy farm. The other , Judson, fleeing Vermont for Paris and culinary school.

Alternating POV (standard for the series) guide us into complete understanding of each man and their complicated relationships, painful pasts, and tenuous plans for the future. I quickly grew to love them both.

Ashley characters are engaging, layered, and easy to connect to. The families that also are closely connected are equally charming and realistic. And the interplay between each man and their mothers seem so spot on that you feel as though you could be sitting on stool in the kitchen along side them as they chat. Plus all that maple syrup and recipes to drool over.

As with all the stories, characters and couples you’ve gotten to know and adore make appearances here, from slight mentions to full secondary character status. It takes a village to build this series and you really feel like you know these people and Burlington itself. Go Moo U!

Yes there’s some angst on the low end of the meter, and a lovely ending. What a terrific new installment!

I love a great series. There’s nothing better then to read one story, fall in love with the setting, people, atmosphere….everything and then see you don’t have to stop at book one.

If the literary gods and goddesses are watching over you, the series will be lengthy and one that keeps building on the foundation and layers of the stories before.

Vino and Veritas is that series. Written by multiple authors, starting with Annabeth Albert, each sweet, heartwarming romance has added more texture and richness as well as characters to an already amazing central element.

That would be Vino (the all inclusive bar) and Veritas (the connecting/neighbor bookstore).

From that great center has sprung book after book with diverse characters (dairy farmers, bloggers, former hockey players, chefs, you name it) with their personal issues, often challenging family dynamics, and fascinating albeit stumbling journeys to love and HEA.

I mean look at that list of authors! I have put the full list of books to date (18 of them and growing) at the end of this review. Feel free to use it as a personal check list.

And because the books are written by a variety of authors this series always feels fresh and exciting. Plus if you’re unfamiliar with some of these authors, what a great way to discover someone new.

I have been reading them all in the order listed below because once I found the first book, Featherbed, then I just couldn’t stop. Like eating chocolates, one naturally leads to the next snd then the next…..

Haven’t found one yet that isn’t a true delight and great read.

Check this and all the ones out for yourself. I absolutely recommend eqch and every one.



by Ana Ashley

A second chance at love? Or a second chance to ruin everything?

When Skyler spots the new bartender at Vino and Veritas, his body responds before the guy even turns around. But when he does, it takes only a heartbeat for recognition to set in and for sparks to fly. Judson’s been gone for ten years, but he’s the man Skyler never forgot. Or forgave.

The last place Judson wants to be is back home in Burlington, living with family. Not so long ago he was a world-class chef with the lifestyle to prove it. Now he’s serving drinks and flying under the radar until he can get the hell out again. But when his childhood best friend reenters his life, looking finer than any entree at a five-star restaurant, he wonders if it’s time to update his menu of life choices.

Working through past wounds with Skyler won’t be easy, though, especially with family obligations–and the occasional dairy cow–interfering. When their loyalty is tested, will their newly built stronghold be sturdy enough to withstand the storm?

Stronghold is a sweet and sexy Vino & Veritas romance with some creative use of maple syrup.

Vino and Veritas series:

🔵Featherbed (Vino and Veritas 1) by Annabeth Albert

🔵Heartscape #2 by Garrett Leigh

🔵Headstrong #3 by Eden Finley

🔵Undercover #4 by Eliot Grayson

🔵Aftermath #5 by LA Witt

🔵Booklover #6 by JE Birk

🔵Flipcup #7 by Kim Hartfield f/f

🔵Hideaway #8 by Rachel Lacey f/f

🔵Turnabout #9 by Laurel Greer

🔵Unguarded #10 by Jay Hogan

🔵Insatiable #11 by Rhys Everly

🔵Daybreak #12 by Kate Hawthorne

🔵Heartsong #13 by AE Wasp

🔵Stronghold #14 by Ana Ashley

🔵Limelight #15 by E Davis

🔵Unforgettable #16 by Marley Valentine

🔵Showstopper #17 by Regina Kyle

🔵Undone #18 by Leslie McAdams › seriesWeb resultsVino & Veritas Series by Annabeth Albert – Goodreads

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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